Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Into food, family, or franchising? You're in the right place. The recipe for blogging here at YCA is to keep it simple, entertaining, educational, and to the point. We take one simple concept and give you our unique perspective.
From our franchisees, our students, or our corporate staff - if you hear it here, you know it's all us, all original and all fresh. We might tell you the story of a bright young chef who taught his instructor a few things, then next maybe the latest culinary trend (beef tongue sliders?). There is nothing ordinary about any of our franchises, and we delight in sharing the extraordinary "scoop"! Enjoy, comment, and please share.
1:51 PM

"POP" In The New Year!

 

Cake Pops Pinterest

It's almost 2018....the Zodiac Year of the Earth Dog!  If you were born in the year 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, (or even about to be born in 2018), you share a common bond with some other famous "dogs," such as Mother Theresa, Winston Churchill, Madonna, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson, just to name a few. 

But enough of that!  Let's move on to the FOOD!  Sadly, this is our last week of Bake The Season's Bright, however, we will still be sharing more incredible recipes throughout the upcoming year (sneak peek into January....it's getting "Chili" outside).

With the New Year arriving in just a few days, we thought we'd let things sparkle and shine with Sparkling Cake Pops ~ our mock pink champagne cake pops.  These pops are so elegant, yet so enticing.  Using some colorful sprinkles to add a little glitz and glamor make these a "must" for your New Year's Eve gathering.

This recipe uses a non-alcoholic alternative but provides delicious results similar to using true Champagne.  The slightly sweet and bubbly concoction is also tasty by itself!  Just double or triple the recipe for a refreshing drink your guests can sip while savoring their personal cake pop.

Let's get POP-IN'!

 


 

 

cake pop 1 

Each week, we share special tips and tricks with our Young Chefs.  One of the big questions that arise is the need to start with room temperature ingredients. 

So why do some recipes call for room temperature ingredients? 

It's important that you start with room temperature butter and eggs as they will disperse much easier in your batter.  But if you're like many of us, we forget to factor in the extra hour to ensure they are at the right temperature.  Here's a few tips that can help when you're ready to bake but your butter and eggs aren't!

After eggs and butter and other dairy products have come to room temperature, they form an emulsion when they’re mixed. This emulsion traps air and makes your baked good nice and fluffy.  Also, ingredients at room temperature tend to mix more easily than when they’re cold, making a nice, even batter, which means your final product will have a uniform texture all the way through.


For quick, room temperature eggs:  Place eggs in a warm (not hot!) water bath for about 5 minutes.  This allows the temperature of the eggs to drop to room temperature.


For quick, room temperature butter:  Microwave a glass or ceramic bowl filled with water for a few minutes.  Pour out the water and place the warm bowl over the butter for a few minutes to bring to room temperature.  Or, microwave, with the wrapper intact, for 5 seconds.  Flip and repeat for the other three sides.

 

cake pop2 

It's important to freeze your cake balls before dipping in chocolate to allow them to firm up a bit to work with.  However, be sure to bring your frozen cake balls out of the freezer to warm up slightly.  Dipping very cold cake balls into very warm chocolate can result in cracks (we learned the hard way...). 



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Dipping the lollipop stick into the chocolate first before pressing into the cake ball allows the chocolate to form around the portion where the stick is inserted.  This process makes it easier to finish dipping the rest of the cake ball with less messy results.


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And Voila!  Now all that's left is to invite friends over!

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Our friend Taylor joined us after helping to make these little cuties. 

What are you waiting for?  Let's make 2018 Sparkle!!


 

cake pop 7


Pseudo Pink Champagne Cake Pops

Ingredients:

Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
15 ounces (2 cups) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 x-large egg whites at room temperature
4 drops red food coloring
2 cups mock champagne

Buttercream:

1/4 cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1¼ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons mock champagne
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop red food coloring

Mock Champagne:

1 quart (32 oz) cranberry juice
1 quart (32 oz) ginger ale
1/2 quart (16 oz) 7-Up


Directions:

  1. For the Mock Champagne:  Combine all three ingredients and stir.  Set aside.
  2. For the Cake:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour 9x13-inch cake pan or baking dish; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt); set aside.
  4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Reduce speed to medium and add egg whites, one at a time; add vanilla.
  6. Mix in food coloring5. Stop mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  7. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with dry ingredient.
  8. Pour into prepared cake pan or baking dish and bake 25-35 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.
  9. For the Buttercream:  Beat butter for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  10. Add sugar, champagne, vanilla and food coloring and beat for several minutes until light and creamy.

 

To Assemble:

Ingredients:

1 Pink Champagne Cake
1 batch Pink Champagne Buttercream
60 6-inch lollipop sticks
32 ounces white chocolate or white chocolate melts, roughly chopped
½ - 1 cup diamond sugar (optional but recommended)


Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or non-stick foil and set aside.
  2. Break cooled cake into pieces and place in a large bowl; crumble cake into small crumbs with fingers.
  3. Add buttercream to cake and mix with a spoon until all cake crumbs are coated.
  4. Use a small cookie dough scoop or large spoon to scoop balls of dough onto wax paper
  5. Use your hands to roll the cake scoops into balls.
  6. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place in freezer for at least one hour.
  7. Prepare another baking sheet with wax paper or non-stick foil for finished pops. 
  8. Once cake balls are frozen, you can make the cake pops.
  9. Put white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and place in over a pot of simmering water; stir chocolate constantly until melted (you can also melt the white chocolate in the microwave).
  10. Remove balls from freezer; dip the top of each lollipop stick about ¼ of an inch into the white chocolate and immediately press into cake ball two thirds of the way through.
  11. Once complete, dip each cake pop, one at a time, into white chocolate; lightly tap off excess chocolate and place cake pop on wax paper and decorate with sprinkles/sugar/edible color mist immediately before chocolate hardens.
  12. Repeat until all cake pops are dipped and decorated.
  13. Allow to cool and for chocolate to harden before serving.

 

 We wish you ALL a VERY Happy and Wonderful New Year!!!  From all of us at Young Chefs® Academy!

 

 

 

 

 


2:23 PM

Bake Memories for the Holidays...the French Way!

 

CandyCane Galette Pinterest

Cher Noël, voici bien longtemps
Tout juste un an
Que je t’attends 

(Dear Christmas, here you are after such a long time
It’s been one whole year
That I’ve waited for you)

 

If you're thinking you have too much on your plate (excuse the pun!) to make a beautiful side dish for your Christmas events, we've got something for you!  We're sharing one of our favorites from camp this year ~ the Aparagus and Potato Galette.

What is a Galette, you ask?  It is the French word for a pancake, either free-form or round, with either a sweet or savory filling.  Almost any pie can be made into galette. 

This pastry provides a rustic and beautiful presentation and tastes heavenly. And did we mention that it's really easy to make?
And in remaining true to the theme of the recipe, we'll be using Dijon mustard to give our veggies a little flavor "pizzazz."   True Dijon mustard is made in Dijon, the capital city of the Burgundy province in France.  This particular mustard is used in many French menus to add more flavor to a particular dish. 

The flavor of the finished product is rich and robust, with a slight tang from the mustard.  This dish is sure to be a favorite at your holiday gathering!

 


Allons cuisiner!

 

 



 

Asparagus and Potato Galette


Ingredients
:

  • 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced (peel or leave skins on)*

  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced**

  • ½ lb. asparagus, ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces***

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt, to taste

  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground to taste

  • 1 cup Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated

     

  • 1 recipe pie dough****

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 large egg



Directions
:

 

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, onion, asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the Gruyère or Swiss cheese and toss to combine. Set aside.

  3. Lay out a piece of parchment and lightly flour the surface. Roll the pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the paper and crust onto a sheet pan.

  4. Spread the mustard on the pie dough, leaving a 3-inch border around the edge. Spoon the potato-asparagus mixture onto the pie dough, leaving a 2 ½-inch border around the edge. Fold the border neatly over the potato mixture.*****

  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the crust with the egg mixture and bake until the crust is golden brown and the vegetables are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. (Cover with foil if the crust is browning too quickly). Transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Serve while still warm.


Yield:  about 8 servings

 

 



Galette Recipe Tips:

  • If you do not have a mandaline to slice your potatoes very thin and want to ensure your potatoes cook through in the galette, make this small adjustment ~

    Scrub the outside of the potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. You can either leave the skin on or peel it off.

    Poke a few holes in the potatoes and microwave them on high power for 5 minutes. Par cooking will help to make sure the potatoes are completely cooked when the galette is finished. Then slice them into ¼-inch slices.

  • **Want to add a little more flavor to your galette?  Carmelize your onions!  To do this, heat approx. 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.  Add the onions and coat with the olive oil in the pan, stirring occasionally until you have beautifully rich, browned results.  This does add some extra time to the recipe but provides a richer, fuller flavor.

 

  • ***How to trim asparagus ~ asparagus are long thin edible stalks. When you purchase them at the grocery store, make sure the tips of the asparagus are bright green and compact. The size of the asparagus doesn’t matter. The thicker the stalk the more mature it is but, it doesn’t affect the flavor. To trim, simply grab the stem in one hand and the stalk with the other and "SNAP!"  This veggie will miraculously snap where the tough end meets the tender part of the asparagus.  Toss the end and cut the tender portion that is left into 1" pieces.

 

  • ****Save time and purchase pre-made pie dough!  While nothing beats a pie dough from scratch, the pre-made doughs are ready to simply roll out and fill!

  • *****It's easy to pleat the dough as the final touch.  Fold dough the dough onto itself in regularly spaced directions.

 



YCA Pie Dough

Instructions:

  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces and chilled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup ice water


Directions
:

 

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse 3 to 4 times.
  3. Add the butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until texture looks mealy, or resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Remove lid of food processor and sprinkle half of the ice water over the flour. Replace the lid and pulse 5 or 6 times. Add more water and pulse again until mixture begins to stick together and form a ball.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Yield: about 1 pie crust

 

 

 

 

 


4:49 PM

All We Want for Christmas....Is A NO-STRESS Gingerbread Experience

 

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Young Chefs® Academy locations have been crafting gingerbread houses with tens of thousands of children and families across the globe for over 10 years.  However, it didn't start there.  In her earliest entrepreneurial years, Young Chefs™ Founder & CEO, Julie Burleson, used her talents to architect and sell custom gingerbread houses for others who found the task to be too daunting to tackle themselves. 

Building your own Gingerbread House from scratch can be a discouraging adventure, to say the least.  But it doesn't have to be!  It starts with a Fool-Proof Dough and a little patience.

So naturally when asked to present some tips for the readers of Reader's Digest®, Julie jumped into the YCA Test Kitchen to start constructing while sharing expert advice along the way.  For the full article, click HERE.



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"As with everything culinary, planning and timing is everything.   Gingerbread houses are no exception," states Burleson.  "Allow yourself time to take it slow, planning in stages along the way."
 

Because so many have asked, we're sharing our tried-and-true recipe and taking some of the mystery out of the process!  This gingerbread recipe produces a strong, finished product versus other gingerbread dough.   Let's get this construction project started!

 


 

YCA Gingerbread House Dough


Ingredients
:

5½cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

 

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, thoroughly blend shortening and sugar. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth. In another bowl, sift dry ingredients.
  2. Gradually stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. When dough becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, work dough with hands until completely blended.
  3. Separate dough into four balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and chill a minimum of one hour. (Dough can be stored in refrigerator for up to two weeks.)
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a disk of chilled dough directly on non-stick aluminum foil or foil sprayed with non-stick spray,* cut to fit your baking sheet. Cover dough with plastic wrap and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Remove plastic wrap, place patterns for house (which you can cut from parchment paper) directly on dough, leaving at least 1/2 inch between patterns. Using a table knife, cut around edges of pattern. Remove scraps of dough, leaving cut pieces on foil. Remove patterns and lay foil directly on baking sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 10-25 minutes, depending on size of pieces. Gingerbread will darken, especially around edges and feel firm to the touch. Remove sheet from oven and allow to cool on sheet. Gently peel gingerbread from foil. You may store pieces in a cool, dry place.


Yield:  Makes about 2 Gingerbread Houses

 

YCA Royal Icing


Ingredients:

3 large or extra large egg whites
3 tsp. cream of tartar
4 cups confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat for two minutes at low speed and8 to 10 minutes at high speed. A knife or spatula drawn through the icing should leave a clear path that holds its shape.
  3. This recipe is enough for about 2 gingerbread houses. Place the icing into 4 heavy-duty plastic zipper bags. Seal with as little air in the bag as possible and reinforce the zipper with silver duct tape. When you are ready to use the icing, make a small snip in the corner of the bag and squeeze.

 

Helpful Tips:

  • *We use Reynolds® Non-Stick Foil for best results.
  • This royal icing recipe contains raw egg and should not be eaten. 
  • Royal Icing has a shelf life of one to two weeks if kept in an airtight container with a piece of damp cheesecloth.
  • Since Royal Icing will dry out when exposed to air, you must keep any icing you're not using in an airtight container with a piece of dampened cheesecloth under the lid. Take icing from the container as you need it. You can also simply use a damp paper towel over the icing while icing.



2:04 PM

We're Baking the Season Bright with Swirls!

 

Peppermint Swirl Pinterest

 

Surprise your guests (or Santa!) this year with this versatile sugar cookie recipe! 

 

The swirl cookie can be made to fit any occasion, holiday or your mood!  How? 

 

  • You can use different flavors and extracts, such as almond, coconut, or anise to jazz up the flavor.

  • Using food colors to tint one section of dough can create vibrantly colored cookies.

  • You can roll or sprinkle finished swirl cookie while still warm in sparkling sugar or colored sprinkles adding a festive element to the cookie.

 

 

Best of all, this recipe is incredibly fun and easy....

...but nobody has to know...shhhh....

 

What are we waiting for? 

 

Let's Get Baking!!
 


 

What happens when you're asked to go to that upcoming cookie-swap party?  You start thinking, "What cookie can I bring that will stand out among the crowd of other cookies?" 

Well, it needs to reflect the season and taste great, but what about presentation?  Since we all eat with our eyes first, we want to catch their attention.  And this cookie does it all!

But as with any baked good, there's a lot more happening behind all that deliciousness.  At Young Chefs® Academy, we teach our students more than just the mechanics of a recipe.  We dig into the techniques, skills and educational components involved with each.  Our students experience cooking and baking in a whole new light, bringing recipes to life, each with its own unique story that will remain with them their entire lives.

For example, the following are just a sampling of the questions and topics of conversation that arose during our Holiday Baking Coalition weekly class theme this month:

Did you know that the tradition of making and sharing cookies with friends dates back to medieval times?  Cookies were much easier to share during winter celebrations than cakes. During this time, cooks were becoming more familiar with spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper which were being incorporated into recipes through trade and travels to exotic lands.  

Why do you need to place the dough in the refrigerator? 

This process makes it easier to roll out when the time comes! 

We take it one step further when rolling by placing plastic wrap on top of the dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.  From there, we use "The YCA Way to Rock and Roll" method to create the perfectly rolled dough.

 

IMG_8507 

What's up with the egg wash?

The egg white glaze is an important step when making these swirl cookies – the egg whites act like a glue to keep the second cookie dough sheet in place when rolling up the dough.

 

 IMG_8512

 

When you roll up the dough, make sure the outside layer has completely encased the inside layer – it will look nicer when sliced.  Just press the seam edges together for a nice, smooth log.

 

IMG_8517     IMG_8534

 

 

We already refrigerated the dough.  Why does it have to chill before we slice and bake it?

Refrigerating "slice and bake" cookie dough also provides some additional benefits.  King Arthur Flour put it to the test and found some interesting results:

Chilling the dough before baking:

  • Enhances the flavor.
  • Reduces the amount of "spread" due to the fats solidifying when chilled, and allows time for the sugar to absorb liquids in the dough.  This helps it hold it's shape.
  • Produces a chewier/crispier cookie when baked.

 

 
Well, enough of that for now!  It's time to head out for the party with our plate of delicious spiral cookies!




 IMG_8542

 

Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Ingredients:

For the vanilla cookie dough:

½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp salt (extra-fine, preferred)
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup peppermint candy, finely crushed

For the chocolate cookie dough:

½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup cocoa
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the egg white glaze:

1 large egg white
1 tbsp. water

 

Directions:

  1. To make the vanilla cookie dough: in a medium mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and crushed candy, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  2. To make the chocolate cookie dough: In a medium mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add the cocoa and flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  3. To make the egg white glaze: Whisk together egg white and water until very foamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
    To make the swirl cookies: Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on your work surface. Lay one piece of dough on the parchment and use the rolling pin to roll it into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Set it aside.
  4. Using another piece of parchment or waxed paper, roll another piece of dough just slightly smaller than the first, into an 8 ½-by-11 ½-inch rectangle. Brush the egg white glaze over the larger piece of dough. Place the smaller piece of dough on top of the larger piece, using the parchment to transport.
  5. Starting with a long edge, use the parchment to help you gently roll the stacked doughs into a tight log, with no gaps. Press the edge to seal, then wrap the log in plastic wrap or parchment paper and freeze until firm.
  6. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease or line with parchment two baking sheets.
  7. Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap, and place it on a clean work surface. Let it thaw for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to gently cut the log into ¼-inch slices. If the dough becomes too soft to handle, place it back in the freezer briefly. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they feel firm. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

 


2:15 PM

Bake the Season Bright...with Candy Canes!

 

CandyCane Brownies Pinterest_copy

Let's face it...the holidays turn us all back into children as humdrum days transform into something magical.  Joyful music fills the air, homes light up with a warm glow,  and nostalgic memories of families and friends come flooding into our minds. 

It's also the time we get really busy in the kitchen...am I right?  Forget visions of sugarplums...it's visions of warm, winter meals and luxurious sweets that dance in our heads.

With our Young Chefs tackling holiday baking this month, we thought we'd join in on the fun and share a few festive indulgences of our own each week that put the "ummmm" in "scr-ummmmm-ptious".

To kick off our weekly treats, here's an easy holiday goody featuring the time-honored candy of Winter ~ the Candy Cane.  By adding this to our sweet, cream cheese frosting, you'll  have a rich, delicious treat to adorn those succulent, chocolatey brownies. 

 

 

 

 

 

So slap on the ugliest holiday sweater you can find, turn up the music, and let's get baking!

 
  IMG_8349  

 

We mention it often, but this is a stress-saving tip we incorporate anytime we start a new recipe ~ Mise en Place (everything in it's place).  This is a hard-and-fast rule our Young Chefs practice every day.  By having all of your ingredients measured and accounted for, you're ensuring you have everything you need which allows time to focus on the task at hand. 

 

   IMG_8356

While it's important not to over-mix your brownie mixture (which could result in tough brownies), this does not necessarily apply to mixing your frosting.  The more you mix your frosting, the lighter and fluffier the final product will become. 

Once you have your brownies frosted, sprinkle on a little of the crushed candy canes for a colorful presentation.

That's all there is to it!  Now all that is left is to grab a fork and dig in!

 

CandyCane Brownies header1

 


 

Candy Cane Cream Cheese Brownies

 


Ingredients
:


For the Chocolate Brownies:

  • 1 (1-oz) unsweetened baking chocolate square or wafers
  • 1 (1 oz.) semisweet baking chocolate square or wafers
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


For the Candy Cane Cream Cheese Frosting:

  •  1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 full-size candy canes, crushed

 


Directions
:

  1. To make the brownies:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet or pizza stone on the middle oven rack*.  Coat a 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Microwave chocolate squares in a small glass bowl on Medium for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted.  Stir until smooth.
  3. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
  4. Add flour and salt, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in vanilla, pecans (optional) and chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter into baking pan.  
  6. Place the pan on top of the preheated cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Bake for 40 minutes or until set.  Cool completely on wire rack.
  7. To make the Frosting:  While the brownies are cooking/cooling, beat butter on medium speed until creamy using an electric mixer with paddle attachment.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract and peppermint extract and beat until fully incorporated. 
  8. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  9. Gradually add 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, beating on low speed until combined.  Increase speed to high until smooth while scraping down the sides as necessary ~ about 2 minutes.
  10. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownies to desired thickness.  Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

 


Secret Brownie Tips:

  • Be sure to select a light-colored, shiny pan, which will conduct heat evenly.  Glass or dark-colored pans can cause the edges or over-bake or even burn.
  • Always grease the pan thoroughly with shortening, softened butter, or cooking spray. (Do this even if the recipe doesn't specify.) After greasing the pan, many bakers like to line it with pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil that have been cut larger than the size of the pan so that the edges hang over the sides like a sling. Thoroughly grease the lining. After the brownies have baked and cooled, the lining may be lifted out of the pan and inverted on a platter. Gently peel away the foil or paper, then cut the brownies into squares.  If using aluminum foil, we love Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil for best results.
  • Brownies can also be baked very successfully in a well-greased mini-muffin tin, which eliminates the problem of cutting into squares. It also provides a great means for portion control. Be sure to reduce the baking time to approx. 22-25 minutes.  Check the brownies by inserting a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, they're done!
  • Over mixing the ingredients can cause brownies to turn out tough or for a thin crust to form on top. Mix wet and dry ingredients just long enough to blend them, taking special care not to over-beat after the eggs are added.
  • Experience is the best guide, but here are some general rules. For fudge-style brownies, remove the pan when the sides have shrunk slightly away from the edges of the pan. The center will still be slightly gooey, but will firm up during cooling. Cake-style brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center has a few moist crumbs attached to it.
  • *To prevent burning the bottoms of your brownies, place the pan on a preheated cookie sheet or pizza stone.
  • Allow brownies to cool in the pan before cutting. Brownies will be easier to cut if you place the pan in the freezer for several minutes. Cut cooled brownies with a plastic or table knife to insure smooth-sided bars.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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